If you are looking for the best pension provider then the options can be bewildering. How do you decide who will look after your money? What can the difference be in the small print? Who will give you all of the add-ons that you need?

Here are some of our tips for what to look out for when it comes to looking for a new pension provider. Always remember that the best thing you can do when looking for a provider is to seek independent financial advice. We can help you to do just that and you can get in touch with us here.

Shop around

There are a myriad of options for a personal pension. As a starting point, ask for a Key Facts Document for several pensions, from a range of providers. These documents are designed to distil all of the information about the pension on offer into a short summary and the providers have to produce and provide them to you before taking your money. We would still recommend paying close attention to all of the fine print but the Key Facts Document is a good way of creating a shortlist of things you like and don’t like before you start to shop around for further options.

Taking account of reviews and online comment on the providers is also a good step. Although online reviews will always include a mixture of the good and the bad, they should at least put you in a position to understand some of the issues you could face with any given provider.

Consider what type of pension you require and who offers it

There are different types of pensions with various benefits and costs. A stakeholder pension, for example, normally offers a fixed set of investment options for low and flexible contributions, whilst a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP), gives you much more freedom, but typically involves higher costs and higher contributions.

If you are reviewing the best pension provider for you with an adviser then they will be able to tell you which one best fits with your circumstances and aspirations and therefore which pension provider you should go with. If you’re doing the research independently, however, be prepared for plenty of reading on what is on offer. Read up on the different types of pensions and make sure that the provider you choose offers the type you are interested in.

Consider costs and contributions

There will be various costs associated with your pension, such as an annual management charge (for investing your pension funds) or a transfer fee if you decide to take a different pension option.

Look at these extremely carefully! You don’t want to enter a pension that appears to be the cheapest upfront only for there to be several charges after a defined period of time, after certain events happen, or upon exit. You can read more on the types of pension charges on our dedicated page here, which is designed to help you understand how and why you pay for your pension.

It is also important to look at what contributions you are expected to make to your pension. Some providers will dictate minimum acceptable contribution levels, which you will then need to meet. Balancing this out with your other financial considerations is key to ensuring the pension is both affordable and working towards providing you with the income you require in retirement. Again, an independent adviser, such as The Pension Review Service, can talk you through your options here and ensure that the pension you select is suitable for your lifestyle both now and in your retirement.

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Look at how the pension will be invested

If you have selected a pension where your provider will be making most of the decisions on how your pension is invested then you need to make sure you are happy with the options you can choose from and the way your pension will be managed on your behalf. Review each provider’s policies and options on this carefully and only commit when you are happy they will meet your requirements.

If you have opted for a SIPP then you will have certain freedoms over where your pension is invested, or you can take advice from an adviser who can make selections for you, or discuss your options before you choose. Again, if you have a specific investment in mind, then you will need to make sure it is offered within the SIPP from the provider you choose. Check their terms and costs carefully as well, as providers will vary.

Retirement options

With the new pension freedoms, options for your retirement are now more varied than ever and are arguably about to become one of the most important factors in choosing  the best pension provider.

In the past, it was almost always the case that your pension would be converted into an annuity upon your retirement, but now you have the right to take your pension as cash, subject to your rate of income tax.

You will need to check carefully, particularly with brand new personal pensions, what fees are involved with doing this and what options your pension provider offers, depending on your intentions. Although it can be difficult, you need to choose your pension with one eye on the future: how will you want to take your pension and what do you want to do with it? This could have a big impact on deciding the best pension provider for you.

Seek independent advice

There really is no better advice when choosing a pension and a pension supplier than seeking independent advice.

There are many, many  pension options available for a pension and many things to consider when deciding which one is best for you and your personal circumstances.

We research pensions and the best pension provider for clients on a daily basis and then combine this knowledge with our understanding of what you want to achieve and how you want your retirement to look. We can either find a new personal pension for you or review your existing pension to find out if it is the best available.

If you are researching providers independently then take care, read the fine print and take as long as you need to understand everything on offer. Your pension is your future and taking account of all of the above factors in your decision can make a real difference to your retirement lifestyle.

For a frank, open and honest chat about who is the best pension provider for you, fill in the call back form below and we’ll be back in touch.